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Boeing B-52 Stratofortress


Apologies for the poor Q. This is a shot from the 1980s so it is over 35 years old.
To view this more closely, click on FULL. The quality won't get any better, but it will make it easier to see thru all the smoke.
There are some who won't have any clue of what they are viewing in this shot. But there are plenty of military, both AD and Retired, who will instantly recognize this situation ... and for some, this will bring back a flood of memories.
There are four B-52Gs in this shot which was taken at Loring AFB, Maine. All four were assigned to the 69th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) in the 42nd Bomb Wing at Loring. This was a "Cart Start" during the first few moments of an Alert Force Launch. Not visible in this photo (off to the right), eight KC-135s are also starting engines for launch right behind these BUFFs. From unattended and shut down, all twelve (these four 52s and the eight KCs) HAD to be airborne and target-bound within six minutes max ... because it was known that a missile launched from Russia would take seven minutes to arrive and obliterate Loring AFB, and the twelve aircraft HAD to be gone by then.


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Gary Schenauer Photo Uploader
Although this pic has already been shared previously and has been on the web for several years, this is the first time I've shared it on a national/international aviation photo site. There are lots of old-timers who will get the same strong memory jolt that I get whenever I see it in my album.
BUFF cart start. Those were the days!
Gary, I've never seen this photo previously, nor had I ever seen a B-52 engine startup... but I had a good idea that this is what was happening. Jet and turbine engine startups were often very smoky affairs... especially in older designs. Applies to radial recips too. I can only imagine the dB noise levels in proximity to those four aircraft! I'm grateful for you sharing this one with us!
sam kuminecz
awesome photo gary!
Gary Schenauer Photo Uploader
96flstc & Cliff >> Yes, indeed. 96 described it perfectly ... in just four words .. within 15 minutes of my posting the pic. This is an Alert Force "Cart Start" ... bringing 32 Pratt & Whitney J57 turbojet engines from shut down and silent to full speed and thundering .... in less than 75 seconds. I was always astounded, every single time I saw it, to see four B-52 Stratofortress bombers go from "empty with no one aboard" to "fully crewed and taxiing toward the runway" ... in 90 seconds. And then, the MITO departure, which not only involved these four 52s but also eight KC-135s, one right behind the other, twelve to fifteen seconds apart, one rotating, another already halfway down the runway, a third already beginning the roll full thrust, and still another positioning, and eight KCs queued to go, all twelve fully-loaded aircraft airborne in three minutes flat... well, that just HAS to be seen to be believed. I've got photos of this launch but the pics just don't show the reality of it ... because it was absolutely impossible to get a shot of four huge Big Ugly Fat F!!!!rs on their takeoff roll down the runway at the same time. 96, you are 100% right ... "those were the days!" (Wave and a Hi Five to both of you)
Gary Schenauer Photo Uploader
Howdy, Sam. Thanx. You ever see the old movie, "The Flight of the Phoenix"? (The 1965 version starring Jimmy Stewart?) Every time I see the end of that movie, when they use shotgun cartridges to "jump start" that one engine, I get a vivid flashback to this scene. Once experienced, never forgotten. :)
sam kuminecz
Yes great movie Gary.
Gary, in the 70's Tactical Air Command also did cart starts. You haven't lived until you have seen a wing of F4-E's start with cartridges! We did at MacDill, 56th TFW. Sorry but camera's were not a real popular item on the flight lines
William Crooker
That was a nice Pic from "The Way Back Machine" Mr. Peabody !
Gary Schenauer Photo Uploader
96flstc and William >> Sorry about the delay in responding. A photo road trip and a couple of unique spotting opportunities around here have kept me busy.
96 >>> I wish I could have seen an F-4 cart start. Truthfully, I wish I could have been around F-4s no matter how they started. Never had the opportunity. And as for the camera on the line (grin), well, let's just say that sometimes the worst offenders of a policy are those who are supposed to be enforcing the policy and leave it at that. (Another grin)
William >>> You are spot-on correct; this snap is indeed from the "Way Back." (Chuckle) And I'll bet that not only don't most millennial viewers have any true idea of what is being shown here, but they also don't know what a "Way Back Machine" is ... or who Mr. Peabody was, either. But I liked the reference so I hope you won't mind if I use it the next time I put up an oldie. (Wave)
ken kemper
Awesome & Awesome
Neil Klapthor
Wow Gary, thanks for that great shot...does it ever bring back memories!
I was a BUFF navigator and radar navigator at Barksdale and Wurtsmith. Any engine start exercise while you were pulling alert was a heart pumper and cart starts always added a little extra mustard! Especially when you are the last one to arrive at the aircraft while the carts are firing and engines spinning up...yes, once, young Lt, early in my career, I'm the late one. But my excuse was that I was visiting my wife in the hospital after she's just had our first child. I was the only one using the crew truck, the rest of the crew still at the alert facility. KLAXON blows, I bolt out of the hospital. With my adrenaline gushing, smoke everywhere, screaming engines, I roar up in the crew truck, jump out...and run to the wrong aircraft! Hatch is closed, I bang on it, of course no one opens it, I run out in front of the aircraft, jumping up and down, arms waving, trying to get the pilot's attention...then the crew chief appears out of the smoke, literally grabs my flight jacket, yanks and points me towards the BUFF next door...the one with the hatch still open and my pilot frantically flapping his arms out the open window of the cockpit. All this is, of course, witnessed by the Wing Commander, DO, Squadron Commander and who knows all else. We still made our time!!... which is probably the only reason I still had a career.

Indeed, those were the days!
Tom Vance
Gman! Extraordinary photo. reminds me of BFI late 50s early 60s when the B-47s were doing JATO testing but not even close to what you have here, help Mr Wizard if we see this again in real time response...we used to KCs depart BFI back to back to back and plenty of smoke, but I've never seen this before,
Gary Schenauer Photo Uploader
Neil >> Just now read your comment and I really enjoyed it. It not only provided a super description of an air crewman's perspective of an AF Launch, but it also raised a grin. I've heard lots of memorable stories from ex-GIs (and I've got a few of my own, too), but yours is truly one of the best. (I once ran a VERY realistic training exercise ... only problem was that the troop responsible for SIMULATING notifications to the Sqdn, Base, and Wing Cmdrs .... AND to the base hospital AND the security forces guarding the Alert birds .... did NOT know it was only an exercise ... so all the notifications WERE made! Almost lost all 5 stripes.) Thanks for sharing your experience, Neil. (Wave)

Hey, Alien >>> TYVM for your comment. Hope you had a wonderful holiday.


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